So, we're finally back from The Great (Ad & Media) Football Giveaway. There's a lot of adjectives I could use to describe the last ten days. Most of them would be entirely inadequate for what has proved to be an experience that I shall never forget. And one that has given me many things, including a massive dose of perspective. Which is a brilliant thing to have every now and then.
The numbers tell one story - 9 ad & media bloggers and ragtags, 3 brilliant drivers, 1 stolen bag, 2 car problems (thankfully not serious), 2 stomach upsets (not serious), a 'few' bottles of the local firewater (pretty serious), and countless rounds of Rummy in the evening (very serious).
But the important numbers of-course, are those that speak of what we were there to do. Over the course of the trip we distributed over 2,000 footballs and believe that we managed to reach somewhere in the region of 30,000 children. This was achieved mostly through the 70 odd schools that we visited and distributed balls to, but there were also the random groups of kids that we would see by the side of the road, and those that we reached by hooking up with other NGO projects like the Save The Children health centres who will be using the footballs we gave them to help encourage mother's to come in and learn about life threatening diseases, through allowing their children to play football while they do it.
The photographs that many of us took tell a brilliant visual story of our adventure, so we're setting up a Flickr group to host them, and our friends at Motherlode have kindly said they will edit the footage we shot into a short film of the trip which I will put up here when it's done.
The Great Football Giveaway allocate a grant of $1,000 to each project team to give to an NGO project they encounter on their journey. So we've decided to allocate ours to the Malaika Children's village, the orphanage that we visited and gave footballs to on our first day out of Dar Es Salam. It's a wonderful place, that provides a safe haven for kids who basically have no-one. Kids like Yassin, below right, who was found abandoned in a hotel.
I want to say thank you, again, to everyone that supported us and helped us to raise over £10,000. It will likely take us a while to get through our long list of donors, but as long as you've given us your e-mail address, each and every one of you will receive a photo of the balls that you bought being handed over to the kids who got so much joy from them.
I want also to say a huge thank you to the eight amazing people who came with me. Eight people who I now count as great friends. When I first put that post up, I had no idea of the amazing journey that it would begin. I asked for two volunteers, and I got four times that. I think it's a wonderful thing that 9 people who barely knew each other can come together through the power of a simple idea and do some good in the world.
My enduring memories of the whole thing will come back to the great fun we had as a group, but most importantly to the smiles on the kids faces - the sheer joy that we saw and heard every day. The happiness that a simple thing like a football can create really is a magical thing. And that, after all is said and done, is what this has all been about.
This post is cross posted over on the Tanzania 2010 blog where you can read some more about the trip.